Every month is Black History Month, and Rev. LaKeesha Walrond is proving that after being appointed to be the first Black female president of the New York Theological Seminary.

Walrond will step into her new role on June 3rd, marking the historic milestone for the 119-year-old seminary, which has prepared individuals for faith-based ministries in New York since the 1900s.

Walrond noted in a press release that she is proud “to have the opportunity to show all women that there are still many opportunities to be ‘the first’,” adding that she hopes her presidency can be “an example of what intelligence, discipline and determination can bring.”

“As I assume the presidency, I think about becoming the first female and the first African American female, and the great responsibility that accompanies this historic moment. My hope is to work collaboratively with the faculty, staff, students, and board members to make NYTS a world-renowned theological institution for preparing students for urban ministry. The more I learn about the history of New York Theological Seminary, the more I appreciate its vision — not just for the future of theological education, but for societal matters including education for incarcerated people,” she said. “The former administrations set a bar that I will strive each day to surpass, as I challenge myself and the NYTS community to make this historic and revered Seminary greater and grander.”

Walrond brings with her more than 20 years of leadership experience in academia and ministry. She is being heralded as guiding the Seminary into a new era.

“We are delighted to welcome Rev. Dr. LaKeesha Walrond as New York Theological Seminary’s new president and thrilled about the possibilities that await us together as we write this new chapter of our institutional story. As a search committee, we were not only impressed with the breadth and depth of Dr. Walrond’s experience, but also her exceptional capacity as a visionary leader, which will bring a fresh, bold and energizing approach to engaging theological education in the twenty-first century,” Tamara R. Henry, Assistant Professor of Religious Education and a faculty representative on the Presidential Search Committee said in the press release.


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